Welcome to the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, October 24, 2023, and National Bologna Day (I spell it “baloney”).
It’s also World Tripe Day (I can’t abide it; have you tried it?), National Jamaican Jerk Day, United Nations Day, Food Day, International Day of Diplomats, InternationalWorld Development Information Day, and World Polio Day, commemorating the birthday of Jonas Salk, who was actually born on October 28. Salk was born without a middle name, but was forced to give himself one:
The day after his graduation from medical school in 1939, Salk married Donna Lindsay, a master’s candidate at the New York College of Social Work. David Oshinsky writes that Donna’s father, Elmer Lindsay, “a wealthy Manhattan dentist, viewed Salk as a social inferior, several cuts below Donna’s former suitors.” Eventually, her father agreed to the marriage on two conditions: first, Salk must wait until he could be listed as an official M.D. on the wedding invitations, and second, he must improve his “rather pedestrian status” by giving himself a middle name.”
So he gave himself the middle name “Edward.”
And here’s the menu at 3 Dives Jerk Center, rated one of the 7 best jerk places in Jamaica. One U.S. dollar is about 155 Jamaican dollars. I’ll have the curry goat with rice & veg ($7.75).
So he gave himself the middle name “Edward.”
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 11 Wikipedia page.
The death toll in Gaza rose sharply on Monday, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, after Israel said it had struck hundreds of targets in the territory in one of the biggest barrages of airstrikes in recent days.
The Israeli military also said it had attacked Hezbollah positions in Lebanon, even as President Biden led an international diplomatic effort to try to ensure the conflict does not ensnare other nations in the region.
In a joint statement on Sunday, Mr. Biden and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy urged Israel to protect civilians as it defended itself, and called for the release of all hostages believed to be held in Gaza. The Gaza health ministry said Monday that Israeli airstrikes had killed at least 436 people “in the past hours,” bringing the death toll to more than 5,000 since Oct. 7, when Israel began launching airstrikes in retaliation for an attack by the Hamas militant group that killed 1,400 people.
U.S. officials said that the Biden administration had advised Israel to delay a ground invasion of Gaza, a move that would allow more time for negotiations to release the more than 200 people being held hostage by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza, and for more humanitarian aid to reach the territory. There have been glimmers of hope on both fronts — two convoys of aid entered Gaza over the weekend, and Hamas released two American hostages on Friday.
On Sunday, Mr. Biden also spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The two leaders, according to a White House statement, affirmed that “there will now be continued flow” of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
It remained unclear when or if Israel will invade Gaza, but senior Israeli commanders increasingly have been making public references to preparations for a ground assault, which is crucial to its goal of eliminating Hamas — an objective the United States still supports. For days, Israel has been telling residents of Gaza to move southward for their own safety, even as its airstrikes hit the southern part of the territory.
I predict that what will happen is that the world, and increasingly the U.S., will call on Israel to have a cease fire and then negotiations. That is a recipe for “business as usual”, for it’s a call for either negotiations for a two-state solution, which are no longer feasible, or for negotiations to free the hostages, which Hamas won’t do without substantial concession. A cease-fire is really a call for Israel to stop bombing, don’t invade Israel, and withdraw back to its borders. If that happens, Hamas will actually have profited from its butchery.
*Hamas has now freed two Israeli hostages, not because they’re trying to make up for their butchery, but because this puts pressure on the U.S. and the world to pause the hostilities while there are negotiations (for either hostages, goodies for Hamas, or both). I’m glad that four hostages have now been released, but there are about 196 more, and you can be assured that Hamas doesn’t care whether they live or die; they are merely tools to keep Israel at bay. We are dealing with monsters here, but they’re canny monsters.
Hamas released two elderly Israeli women held hostage in Gaza on Monday, as the United States expressed increasing concern that the escalating Israel-Hamas war will spark a wider conflict in the region, including attacks on American troops.
The death toll in Gaza was rising rapidly as Israel ramped up airstrikes, flattening residential buildings in what it says was preparation for an eventual ground assault. The United States advised Israel to delay an expected ground invasion to allow time to negotiate the release of more hostages..
. . .The release of the two hostages, 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz and 79-year-old Nurit Cooper, was confirmed by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The two women, along with their husbands, were snatched from their homes in the kibbutz of Nir Oz near the Gaza border in Hamas’ Oct. 7 rampage through towns of southern Israel. Their husbands were not released.
In a statement, Hamas said it had released them for humanitarian reasons. Hamas and other militants in Gaza are believed to have taken roughly 220 people, including an unconfirmed number of foreigners and dual nationals. Hamas released an American woman and her teenage daughter last week.
Humanitarian reasons my tuchas! This is the same group that merilessly slaughtered, tortured, and raped babies, young people, and old people–even people who were very sick. Hamas doesn’t know from humanitarianism; they even use their own people as human shields, and their main headquarters are underneath Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, which of course Israel can’t bomb. (Remember that when you read in the papers today that medical supplies couldn’t get to Al-Shifa because of a lack of security guarantees.
And you know those hostages aren’t going to come without a price. Israel’s goal is to destroy Hamas, while Hamas’s goal now is to keep the terrorists alive. Either Israel has to go in on the ground, or it will fail in its avowed mission to get rid of Hamas.
*A prestigious Vietnamese-American author, one of whose books won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, had a big book event canceled because he signed an open letter criticizing Israel. Viet Thanh Nguyen, who also nabbed a MacArthur prize is also the Chair of English and Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. But that didn’t help him avoid cancellation:
“We are a Jewish institution that has always welcomed people with diverse viewpoints to our stage,” 92NY said in a statement. “The brutal Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel and the continued holding of hostages, including senior citizens and young children, has absolutely devastated the community. Given the public comments by the invited author on Israel and this moment, we felt the responsible course of action was to postpone the event while we take some time to determine how best to use our platform and support the entire 92NY community.
The change came days after Nguyen, who declined to comment, was one of 750 writers and artists who signed an open letter critical of Israel. The letter, which was published on Oct. 18 in the London Review of Books, called for “an end to the violence and destruction in Palestine.”
“We plead for an end to all violence, an end to all oppression and denial of human rights,
Nguyen said in a Facebook post Saturday that “no reason was given, no other date was offered, and I was never asked” about the change, which, he said, means the event was canceled. People on social media suggested a bomb threat had been made, he said, but he “heard no such thing from 92Y staff.”
He said on Instagram that the event’s organizer, Bernard Schwartz, who directs 92NY’s poetry center, moved the talk to McNally Jackson Books at Seaport in New York out of “principled refusal to agree to postponing.”
“I have no regrets about anything I have said or done in regards to Palestine, Israel, or the occupation and war. I only regret that Bernard and other staff at the Y have been so deeply and negatively affected by standing up for art and writers,” Nguyen said.
As you might predict, I disagree strongly with this action, which is punishing Ngyuen for his speech—and he was going to talk about his book, not the Israel/Gaza situation. This is “cancel culture” at its apogee: a man is silenced because his political views are odious to some. Yes, the Y has the right to deplatform him, but it’s wrong of them to do so.
*A number of prominent Brits have signed “The October Declaration” that is unapologetically pro-Israel (h/t Jez). Here are some bits of it, but go to the link to see it all (it’s not long; emphasis is theirs);
We are a group of concerned British citizens and residents from a wide range of backgrounds and professions who stand in solidarity with British Jews and condemn all forms of antisemitism, whether in Britain or elsewhere.
We unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism against civilians in Israel, especially the massacre on 7 October 2023.
. . .We stand in support of British Jews and condemn acts of antisemitism
We ask the media, members of all political parties and everyone in public life to call out Hamas for what it is: a terrorist organisation.
Some of the signers I recognized include Sir Tom Stoppard OM CBE, playwright; Professor Richard Dawkins, University of Oxford; Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP; Professor Niall Ferguson, historian; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author and campaigner; Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP and broadcaster; Andrew Doyle, writer and broadcaster; Helen Joyce, author; Professor David Deutsch, University of Oxford. Mostly Tories, I suppose, but that’s what you get when you ask for support for Israel. The petition appears to have been organized by free-speech groups.
*Politico has a profile of FIRE president and free-speech advocate Greg Lukianoff, who, along with Rikki Schlott wrote this new book (click cover to order; h/t Barry):
As president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Lukianoff has been either in front of the camera or behind the scenes of almost every major free speech controversy over the past 25 years. A near sui generis figure in American legal history, he’s the rarest of creatures in modern public life: someone dedicated to elevating principle over tribalism, a progressive who’s willing to ally himself with anyone — even the Koch brothers — who supports his larger cause.
That cause is a near absolute commitment to the First Amendment and civil liberties. It’s premised upon a faith in the human capacity to tolerate complexity, hearkening to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s observation that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” That Americans can recognize the importance of the due process rights of a likely criminal or the speech rights of someone with extreme or loathsome views.
Lukianoff’s philosophy — civil libertarianism — is arguably the very core of the American project. And yet it now faces intense threats from the left and the right, which Lukianoff chronicles in a new book on cancel culture. The book also offers some prescriptions, a new approach to politics and culture that could help bridge our poisonous divide, if given the chance.
Lukianoff doesn’t have all the answers, but as he recounted his own struggles with severe depression, it’s clear that his approach is a healing one. Whether Americans are willing to listen — and whether civil libertarianism can survive — is far less certain.
I knew Lukianoff had been depressed, but I didn’t know that he was suicidally depressed, and it’s heartening that he’s licked most of it and is now busy defending the Constitution.
In 2001, Lukianoff signed on as legal director. At the time, FIRE, as it’s universally known, had a budget of just over $500,000 and five employees. When he took over as president five years later, FIRE had a staff of only 12. Today, the organization employs 109 people, including 42 lawyers, and has an annual budget of nearly $37 million. Its work includes student and faculty outreach, public education, litigation on individual cases, legislative policy advocacy and reform of campus speech codes. FIRE claims more than 500 victories for students and faculty members and a nearly equal number of campus policy changes. Lukianoff’s career would have been notable for these accomplishments alone.
But his project really got going only after he got serious about killing himself.
Well that’s a provocative last line. As I said, he’s mostly licked it, and, given the quality of his first book with Jon Haidt, I’ll certainly be reading the new one written with Schlott.
A 31-year-old dog in Portugal that had been ranked as the world’s oldest dog ever has died, his owner said Monday.
The guard dog, called Bobi, died over the weekend in a veterinary hospital, Leonel Costa told The Associated Press.
Bobi lived on a farm in the village of Conqueiros in Portugal with Costa and four cats. He was born on May 11, 1992, when his owner was just 8 years old.
In an interview earlier this year, Costa told the Associated Press that Bobi’s secret to a long life was good food, fresh air and lots of love.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is unable to think:
Hili: I don’t know what to think about all this.A: All this is too complicated.
Hili: Nie wiem, co o tym wszystkim myśleć.Ja: To wszystko jest zbyt skomplikowane.
A sign from Buzzfeed with an unfortunate graphic:
An inventive Halloween costume posted by Seth Andrews. If you don’t know what it’s about, you’re too young:
From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0, a misplaced sticker (perhaps moved by a wag photographer):
From Masih, who was here and I didn’t even know it! Oy gewalt! Read her statement:
At the University of Chicago
We should not interfere in Iran's internal affairs. The Iranian people should decide for themselves.
When your neighbor is raping his daughter—should you not intervene and leave the one who is facing rape to decide for… pic.twitter.com/r0Iu08Ap5y
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 22, 2023
Read the thread connected to the second tweet. I have seen some of the video, including #1 below:
The extent of the disinformation campaign has led us to show to foreign journalists uncensored horrors filmed by the terrorists of #Hamas themselves on October 7.
Impossible anymore to say "We didn't know".
THREAD ⤵️ https://t.co/NyNMEJBwqx
— Israel in UN/Geneva🇮🇱🇺🇳 | #IsraelUnderAttack (@IsraelinGeneva) October 23, 2023
I just saw indescribable, raw footage of Hamas’ massacre along with 100 other international journalists, provided by Israeli authorities. Here are the notes I took:
1: Hamas terrorist screaming Allah Akhbah as he frantically tries to behead a dead man with a shovel.
— Jotam Confino (@mrconfino) October 23, 2023
Is Trudeau showing his true colors? (Note, he did write about the other side, though a bit tepid; see tweet right below this one). Trudeau’s moral compass seems fixed exactly in between the two poles.
Anyone else hurting? Or murdered, or kidnapped, of tortured and raped and set on fire? Anyone at all that you can think of? https://t.co/hmflQXAVOn
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) October 22, 2023
I spoke with @POTUS, @EmmanuelMacron, @Bundeskanzler, @GiorgiaMeloni, and @RishiSunak today about the ongoing conflict between Israel and terrorist organization Hamas. We reaffirmed our support for Israel and its right to defend itself, in accordance with international law.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 22, 2023
From Barry: natural selection (in this case, kin selection) for attentiveness:
The speed of maternal instincts
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) October 22, 2023
From Malcolm: crazy cats:
Just cat's in action pic.twitter.com/3YDXdoE4RB
— Cute vs Goblin (@cute_vs_goblin) October 21, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a 24 year-old woman murdered (“murdered” is synonymous with “died at Auschwitz”):
24 October 1920 | A Czech Jewish woman, Irma Brumelová, was born in Prague.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 24, 2023
And we’re down to one tweet per day from Dr. Cobb, this one showing a worker in a cat suit:
trabalhe enquanto eles miam pic.twitter.com/z8Abs7hgda
— gatos fazendo gatices (@gatinarios) August 1, 2023